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Arches, Columns, Bouquets, Clusters
(above is a still from the NBC TV show set in New Jersey called "Mercy". We did many of these packed arch columns for a Saint Patrick's episode filmed in some fairly dire conditions in, January, I think. It is amazing what the crews for these shows can do... including clearing snow like pros)
Balloon decorating typically consists of creation of several design elements following a particular color scheme and/or theme. These elements are arches, columns, bouquets, clusters and even single balloons including themed mylar and latex balloons.
We decorated the New Jersey Devils' Ford Fanfest before games 2 and 5 at Championship Plaza outside the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ. Shown are packed arches in a spiral pattern and a banded pattern designed to match the Devil's home jersey. The left side is game 2, and the heat and swirling winds were not cooperative.
We also decorated Newark's Military Park for a human cannonball performance for America's Got talent. We have done work with several movie and TV production companies.
Notice the last two arches were similar. One uses solid color balloons (2011) and one uses a more transparent for a stained glass look (2012). In general, the transparent ones will cloud over as the latex oxidizes, especially in the sun.
Above are examples of packed arches. Colors can be made to band or spiral. Outdoors, wind conditions can greatly affect the viability of using a packed arch.
Single arches are made of single balloons on a line. They can be tightly or loosely packed depending upon wind conditions and distance the arch needs to travel and budget constraints. Tightly spaced equals more balloons equals higher costs per distance to be covered.
We can also do helium filled cluster arches which can cover a wide area with splashes of color that can be seen from a long distance.
Columns are balloons arranged around a rigid base to form a truncated column. These are often capped with a mylar theme balloon.
Columns can be connected to other columns via single arches to create a larger balloon display.
Balloon bouquets are a number of helium (or helium/air mixture) filled balloons tied to a weight. The number of balloons can vary. The length of the line can vary (meaning the height of the bouquet can vary from that of a table centerpiece to a floor-standing balloon "tree"). The line used to connect the balloons can vary (it is usually white or colored ribbon). The arrangement of positioning the balloons can vary to form different shapes.
The blue, teal and silver balloon here [below] are in a "duplet-chase" formation. 2 balloons side by side stacked 3 high.
Generally speaking, table centerpieces are formed by four balloons connected at equal lengths to a weight that is either a theme weight, or hidden in a themed gift bag with colored gift paper reinforcing the color scheme. Then a fifth balloon, usually a mylar themed balloon, floats above the other four.
A balloon tree, on the other hand, is generally a weight tied with 6 or more lines with balloons positioned as the line rises to overlap color through the entire vertical height. A mylar theme balloon may be part of this arrangement.
Balloon clusters are generally air-filled arrangements of 12 balloons. Air filled clusters in a controlled environment may last a month or so and are a cost-effective way for businesses to decorate for holidays and sales and the like. While being cost-effective for a business decorating for a period of time, these do use a lot of balloons and for a one time event these will cost more than other decor.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Air-filled clusters hanging from the ceiling REQUIRE certain types of ceilings (drop ceilings with ceiling tiles and a frame as well as permission of the facility to manipulate the tiles).
Clusters are generally hung from lines connected to the ceiling in some way. The pattern of colors used can create daisy shapes when viewed from one side. In fact, a half cluster is often connected to a railing to make a nice balloon daisy.
And the photo composite below shows we have done large packed arches for events from Philadelphia to New York City. The first half of the photo shows an arch at Penn's landing in Philly with the Ben Franklin Bridge behind it. The second half is taken from the banks of the New Jersey side of the Hudson River with the George Washington Bridge in the background.